One of the points made most insistently by critics of the Lancet study was that they disbelieved the claim that infant mortality had increased since the war. Heiko, a contributor to one of Dsquared’s threads , wrote: “I do believe infant mortality may have dropped (though maybe not halved as yet), because a lot of things are available now that weren’t before the war.” The Washington Post has now published an article suggesting that there has been a dramatic rise in child malnutrition since the war:
Acute malnutrition among young children in Iraq has nearly doubled since the United States led an invasion of the country 20 months ago, according to surveys by the United Nations, aid agencies and the interim Iraqi government.
After the rate of acute malnutrition among children younger than 5 steadily declined to 4 percent two years ago, it shot up to 7.7 percent this year, according to a study conducted by Iraq’s Health Ministry in cooperation with Norway’s Institute for Applied International Studies and the U.N. Development Program. The new figure translates to roughly 400,000 Iraqi children suffering from “wasting,” a condition characterized by chronic diarrhea and dangerous deficiencies of protein.
The article makes grim reading for anyone concerned about winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people:
“Believe me, we thought a magic thing would happen” with the fall of Hussein and the start of the U.S.-led occupation, said an administrator at Baghdad’s Central Teaching Hospital for Pediatrics. “So we’re surprised that nothing has been done. And people talk now about how the days of Saddam were very nice,” the official said.